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Keeping children safe at school - what does it mean?

21/11/2016 11:55:57 | WCBS

The Department of Education recently issued the latest statutory guidance of what schools should do to ensure the duty of care of all children, and with what they must comply in order to keep children safe.

This is in recognition that a child’s wellbeing is of as much importance in school life as academic responsibilities.

There is no doubt that the content of the guidance is in the best interest of the child, and thereby of paramount importance to any educational institution, but how to put in place and manage in adherence with regulations is something schools have to face.

Independent schools by their very nature have long demonstrated duty of care, not only from academic and sporting perspectives, but also, because most are boarding schools, in their role of surrogate parents for many weeks of the year.

Pastoral care, therefore, is at the very heart of the school family’s responsibility, and the need, for instance, to liaise with authorities, organise off-campus activities and attend to medical issues, all the while keeping records to enable accurate reporting to parents, is a well established practice.

The responsibility lies with proprietors of independent schools to ensure that all staff read at least part one of the guidance, and that there are mechanisms in place to not only record, but also to enable sharing of information with appropriate staff and authorities responsible for monitoring and reporting.

So now there is the need for schools to look closely at their processes and procedures to ensure that they are recording in compliance with legislation.

Finding best practice whilst still complying with data protection has to be considered, so developing systems that store confidential information have to be carefully planned with all the correct measures in place to restrict access.

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)

GIRFEC is the national approach in Scotland “to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people. It supports them and their parent(s) to work in partnership with the services that can help them.”

WCBS has been working closely with schools in Scotland to further develop the recording mechanisms within our software in line with the requirements of GIRFEC, and in so doing can offer these enhancements to schools throughout the UK who are reviewing their practices.

This, and our partnership with e-safe and Future Digital will mean that the mandatory requirements for all schools can be accommodated within our information management systems.

Read the full guidance on safeguarding duties here.

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